There’s a growing appetite for tea in Nigeria. Large sections of the country’s population realize that it can help their hearts and waistlines stay in shape, so they’re buying more of it. Tea brands are also multiplying to match demand. It’s a good time for the tea business in Nigeria.
A few names dominate this market (you’re probably familiar with some of them). But because there’s always fresh demand for tea, smaller players are finding their own space as well. One of these emerging brands is Highland Tea.
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Highland Tea has strong ties to the hills and plateaus of Nigeria’s central regions. It’s where most of the country’s tea farmers live and grow their crops. These farmers, particularly the ones in Taraba State, supply the leaves from which the Highland Tea is made. The product itself is manufactured by Mambila Beverages, which takes its name from the famous Mambila plateau.
Mambila Beverages is a state-owned company. It has its origins in a tea project which the federal military government launched in 1974. The project was taken over by the Nigerian Beverages Production Company in the following year. The company ran the project until 2012 when its assets were bought by the Taraba State Government.
In 2019, Mambila Beverages launched Highland Tea and introduced it to the Lagos market. It also launched the Highland Green Tea, a second, closely related product.
The Highland Tea is made from a variety of the tea plant that’s indigenous to the African continent. The crop is grown on a farm that is also owned by the company. When it’s harvested, it is processed in the Mambila Beverages factory, located in the company’s Tea Estate. According to its officials, the facility is designed to produce 1.6 million kg of black tea annually.
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Processed tea is packaged in tea bagging; each box contains 25 tea bags. It’s sold in selected parts of the country via wholesale distributors.
Consumption remains mostly local, but officials at Mambila Beverages say they could begin exporting their product when they have sufficiently covered domestic demand. Their first frontier beyond Nigeria will be the West African sub-region, where there’s also a rising demand for tea, but only a few large indigenous suppliers.
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